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Deodorant vs Antiperspirant: Is There Any Difference?

Deodorant vs antiperspirant – what’s the difference? Most people don’t even know that there are differences between these two options, so they simply choose the one they’re most accustomed to.

If you want to learn more about the difference between deodorant vs antiperspirant, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below we have tips on how to spot the differences between these two and which one you should use for specific occasions.

What Are Deodorants?

Deodorants are primarily designed to prevent and remove body odor.

It’s important to note that human sweat has no odor or color. Body odor happens when the water from the sweat is mixed with skin bacteria. Certain areas of your body produce more bacteria than others due to having excess fat or protein, hence the strong body odor in those areas.

Deodorant works by fighting the accumulation of bacteria, thus eliminating body odor. Deodorant on its own is not designed to prevent perspiration so your skin will still get wet.

How to Use Deodorants

For maximum efficiency, it’s important to apply deodorant on your underarms. It’s a useful defense strategy against body odor, especially when applied correctly.

Some self-care adherents also advise the application of deodorant on other odorous areas of your body. This includes near the groin or close to your chest area. But, considering that deodorant was not exactly created for use in these areas, it’s probably best to not apply it to them.

If you’re concerned about developing an odor in these areas as the day progresses, consider using baby powder to prevent the mixing of sweat and bacteria in areas outside of the underarms.

Follow the tips below and you’ll always use the deodorant properly:

Always apply deodorant after your shower. Just make sure to dry your skin first. You may also apply deodorant prior to bedtime because you’re less likely to generate sweat as you sleep.

You can safely reapply deodorant throughout the day without any negative repercussions. However, it only takes a few swipes to get the job done and you don’t need to lather it on generously.

The great thing about deodorants is that they’re available in a wide array of different scents. For the best results, look for a deodorant scent that matches your perfume or cologne perfectly. Fragrance-free options are also available for those with sensitive noses.


When comparing deodorant vs antiperspirant, it’s important to look at the ingredients, which are different in each.

Deodorants are made with fragrances and antibacterial ingredients that are designed to minimize body odor and underarm bacteria. You won’t find any aluminum in deodorants as you would in an antiperspirant.

Alcohol is the most popular antibacterial agent in deodorant. However, some natural deodorant brands also use gentle alternatives like coconut oil, baking soda, and activated charcoal. These ingredients are so effective that you can even use them to make your own natural deodorant at home.

What Are Antiperspirants?

Next in our deodorant vs antiperspirant comparison, we’re going to look at antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants are designed to minimize sweat and perspiration. The gel-like substance that you notice when applying antiperspirant is known as aluminum and it’s an important active ingredient to the formula.

It acts as a blocking agent to prevent sweat from coming through your skin’s sweat glands. As such, antiperspirants can prevent sweating.

Due to this, the FDA has classified them as a drug because they work to prevent a natural bodily function. Contrary to popular belief, the use of aluminum-based antiperspirants doesn’t lead to cancer.

Antiperspirants are available in different varieties, each suited to different needs. For instance, clinical antiperspirants are typically prescribed by a doctor and are designed to prevent excessive sweating.

To get the most out of antiperspirant, make sure you know what you’re looking for so you can choose one that contains the right ingredients.

How to Use Antiperspirants

Antiperspirants are incredibly powerful, so oftentimes a little goes a long way. It’s also important to be mindful of how you apply it.

Here are a few helpful guidelines:

Always apply antiperspirant before you sleep or right after your shower. It’s usually not a good idea to put it on as you prepare for work because your sweat glands have already been activated and might prevent the antiperspirant from working properly.

It’s safe to apply antiperspirant to different areas of your body.

Massaging antiperspirant gently onto your skin can significantly improve its effectiveness.

Most antiperspirant products have a 12 to 48-hour active window, which means they don’t require re-application during the day.


One of the main ingredients in antiperspirants is aluminum. The most well-known types of aluminum include sodium aluminum chloro hydroxy lactate, aluminum sulfate, aluminum hydrobromide, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex glycine, and aluminum chlorohydrate.

It’s important to note that there are other ingredients that have been shown to reduce perspiration. This includes witch hazel, baking soda, hops, talc, and mineral salts. But, aluminum is the only ingredient that’s recognized by the FDA as an antiperspirant. This means that products with the “aluminum-free” seal may not be able to guarantee a completely sweat-free day.

What About Deodorant-Antiperspirants?

A number of brands confuse consumers by using the terms deodorant and antiperspirant interchangeably. For instance, they may refer to fragrance-filled antiperspirants as deodorant-antiperspirants due to their ability to eliminate body odor and sweat.

The Clinical Strength Invisible Solid Deodorant from Secret is a good example of a double-duty product. Although it’s mainly labeled as a deodorant, the fine print shows that it offers wetness protection as well. It also comes with an active ingredient known as aluminum zirconium which the FDA classifies as an antiperspirant.

At this point, we’ve covered our bases in comparing Deodorant vs Antiperspirant. You’re probably wondering, which one should I use?


As we’ve noted above, deodorant is a product that’s designed to eliminate body odor, while antiperspirants work to reduce perspiration by blocking the action of your sweat glands. The best way to decide which option is best for you is to consider your needs.

Light sweaters can probably get away with just using deodorant, whereas profuse sweaters or people who work out a lot will benefit more from an antiperspirant.

While antiperspirants can perform double duty in some instances, this only works in theory because your skin is not producing any perspiration that bacteria can stick to.

However, the wrong use of antiperspirant can actually cause odor-causing bacteria to proliferate so it’s important to only opt for the product that works best for you.